How to Recover from Boxing Training - 8 Methods you can do at Home
If you have partaking in any physical activities from gym workouts, team sports to specifically combat sports. Such as:
- Muay Thai and Kickboxing
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
- Other Martial Arts
You will at some point feel fatigue, aches and pains from the sessions which can include intense drills to hard bruising and bloody sparring. This can be from a 1 to 3 plus hour session on a Monday leaving you completely drained that evening. What can be a great feeling as you may have done the cliche ‘leave it all in the gym’ and got rid of life’s stress in those sessions. However, you’re due back again to the same class on Tuesday, Wednesday and maybe two more days that week! As much as we want to say “forget that class, tomorrow” and watch Netflix the following evening after work with a beer and ice cream. We all know that’s not how we get better and fitter; Mind, Body and Soul and we will only be cheating ourselves, not our coaches, us. My Muay Thai coach, a decorated World Champion after a powerful session last month, said in his broken Portuguese accent to the class: “You’re not a loser if you get beaten up by someone better than you in class today, tomorrow or next month. You’re a loser if you get beaten up and don’t show up to class again.”
Even though he wasn’t talking to me directly, I did take it personal as i have, like most made up excuses in my head on why to skip a day of training. Still there are other factors that can play into it like discipline, which I have a FREE downloadable guide coming soon which will touch on the topic. Yet having a strain, an ache or lack of energy can test your willpower to return immediately to gym and even your performance if you do stay true to your commitments. Therefore this post will expose you to 8 methods you can do at home to recover from hard sparring or combat sport drills.
Stretching your limbs is essential after a hard session at your chosen martial art or self defence system. Your body is normally warmed up with adrenaline, sweat and dopamine that when you are doing strenuous workouts at a high pace you don’t necessarily feel the wear on your body until you have cooled down. Not taking the time to properly stretch out those limbs can lead to pain and at times injuries. Especially the older you get, myself for example. I am in my mid 30s. When I was in my late teens or even in my 20’s I could eat a box of greasy fast food, drink a can of full fat coke and workout for an hour plus. Quickly freshen up, meet up with a girlfriend at the time, consume some to a lot of alcohol, get up to what adults do behind closed doors. Have a greasy brunch the next morning/afternoon and go about my workout again later that day without a care in the world. Now for the last few years before weight lifting or combat sports training i definitely stretch after and prior to the workout to lower build up of lactic acid which can harm my recovery.
Hot shower/Warm bath
This sounds like a given, right? You are probably thinking like what kind of dirtbag do I take the reader for? Well I have no doubt you are someone who cares for your hygiene, especially when doing boxing or any other martial art. It is not uncommon to shower multiple times in the day, again for hygiene purposes as a bare minimum.
Additionally a hot shower/warm bath can have these benefits which can aid to your recovery:
- Removes toxins from the skin
- Decrease of joint pain
- Relaxes the muscles
- Accelerates the body’s natural healing process
- Assist blood flow to your muscles
- Increase in the body’s metabolism burning functions
- Improves mood
- Improves sleep
With just those 8 points alone you can see the extra benefits you get from having a hot/warm bath after training.
Cold shower/ice bath
Now you may be thinking I am definitely taking the mick. “Like I know globally heating and hot water bills are at an all time high but why would I want to put myself through an uncomfortable experience of having a cold shower? Even worse, why would I want to fill a tub of ice which will be better served in a tasty beverage to only jump in there for my displeasure?” Look i get it, most people will prefer the nice steamy hot option mentioned previously but again they are a number of profound benefits found in the cold shower::
- Decrease inflammation and swelling
- Reduced muscle soreness and fatigue
- Speeds up metabolism
- Stimulates the immune system
As for the Ice bath there are even more benefits which can aid in recovery from physical exercises. It is a really common treatment in all genres of the health and fitness industry and your favourite fighters are no stranger to the treatment. As the recovery properties can aid your recovery with the same benefits you get from a cold shower plus:
- Increase the production of anabolic hormones
- Stimulate cell regeneration and speeds up recovery
- Prevent post workout injuries
- Heals and tones skin
- Improves sleep quality.
These are just a number of factors which help with recovery and there are so many other health benefits you can get from this treatment which I will touch on in a future post. There is a reason why you see this treatment being applied to nearly every elite UFC fighter on their Pay Per View preview show or their embedded blog series. Perhaps the most successful comedian Kevin Hart has a really successful Youtube series ‘Cold as Balls.’ Which has 100s of millions of views over the last few years featuring sports and entertainments popular acts jumping and interviewing in an ice bath. Just check out the video below which features the 50-0 Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather which has accumulated over 20 million views!
Having something nutritious to eat or even drink after a strenuous workout can also be important to your body’s recovery. This can be a protein packed meal, fruit/vegetable, protein shake, even water. Whatever it is, this can assist in reducing the buildup of lactic acid in the body and feeling tired and lethargic the following day. The more macro, vitamin and/or mineral positive, your post workout ingestion of choice is the better for your body internal system and recovery. I personally partake in an intermittent fasting diet for the last couple years now during the week and most weekends. For the health benefits I research and personally benefited from and I can honestly say my strength and performance. The differences I have noticed when I have eaten 3 or even 5 times a day in a 12 – 14 hour window. When I was at my peak focus on weight lifting the output difference was honestly minimal. I commonly surprise my colleagues at work and they regularly disbelieve me when I tell them about my once a day meals. As I am someone who is physically active training boxing, wrestling and multiple martial arts weekly.
Erm, I didn’t mean to go on a whole explanation on my diet choices. Even with my diet choice I may sneak in a fruit and definitely litres of water after an evening session.
Oral pain killers
Personally this is something I do try to stay clear of as your traditional man made pain killer pills tend more to mask the pain than to treat the cause. There are plant based and natural remedies you can take to help with pain relief like CBD edibles. However there is a case for billions of dollars spent and decades worth of science researched based evidence to back the benefits of artificial pain relief. As well as God forbid if you have a broken limb you may want and need an instant pain killer to relieve your discomfort. This method could accelerate your recovery on base level so it is worth considering.
Cooling/Heating spray and balms
I will definitely say I’m a big advocate for the benefits of these balms. As I write this post this morning I am using a cooling topical CBD spray on my back and thighs. Reason for the need of this last night I had a gruelling wrestling session as I am trying to get more grappling minutes in. The class was non stop takedown drills where you’re on the receiving end of the drill. Followed by 3 minute rounds of wrestling sparring. Which in a hot room on a hot day with little ventilation had me feeling stitches, I loved it! This morning when I woke I felt the aftermath of the workout and after having my second shower in 12 hours. I felt I needed to add my not so secret sauce to the pain affected areas. Then ‘just like that’ – Mike Goldberg voice, I felt fresh again. Now ready for a soul destroying two and a half hour total double header of Muay Thai and MMA striking classes. Even though I have tried non CBD heating/cooling gels and balms prior to the wide adoption of the plant. Which does work fast on pain relief. I do feel I had a more immediate and long lasting pain relief on my joints on muscles since using the CBD brands.
Massage guns/Percussion therapy
These are becoming ever so popular rapidly. As you have so many people from entertainers, social media influencers to World class athletes like 2 time World Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua using the device for recovery. There are many brands out there which ship internationally which can cost below $50 to way over $500. I have used this machine numerous times and I can understand the hype. A key reason for the popularity of the device is the convenience:
- You do not need to book an appointment to get a massage. At a room or in your home.
- You do not need to be worried about someone you don’t know touching, rubbing you intimately.
- The purchase of the Massage gun can last for a year plus so you do not need to worry about recurring cost.
- As the device is hand held with a small bag you can carry it around with you to the gym, work, commute etc.
As well as the convenience benefits there are the health and recovery ones too:
- Eases muscle pains
- Enhances blood and oxygen circulation
- Improves joint mobility
- Soft tissue injury recovery is sped up
- Relieves muscle spasms and stiffness
- Relieves stress
- Release lactic acid
- Helps sleep
Percussion therapy has gained wide notoriety rapidly for these reasons and just the other topics covered in this Blog I will be sure to dive much deeper into this sector in future Blogs.
Last and definitely not least is Sleep. This is the most cost effective and the most used form of recovery known to human beings. From when we were babies, puberty and sculpting our bodies through physical activities. Sleep is when the body has the most uninterrupted time for you to recover from ailments, injuries and pains. To grow physically, if it’s the benefits of the cardiovascular work you put in to cut weight or the weightlifting you put in to gain muscle. Sleep is where the body like a computer gathers all the data and applies the results for when you next wake up. Also part of the recovery process is the mental side as much as the physical. You diving into a deep slumber can help alleviate external stress you have and help with your general wellbeing. There is a reason why so many top performers in the ring, cage, sports and the boardroom take having the right amount of hours of sleep so seriously. Which intern makes them optimise every waking minute to get the very best out of themselves daily.
I personally am one person who struggles with sleep and if left to my own devices can be up to 4am even 5am at times to wake up at 7am to go work 10 hours. Go training after probably having a bunch of caffeine in between to keep me going and then do it again the next day. Sometimes even passing 24 hours without so much as a nap, due to so many things that are on my mind ‘Paul Ponders’. Until maybe 4-5 days of consistently doing this sometime after work around 7pm to 8pm my body might crash out until 5am to 6am the following day. I have been recommended so many times to take the artificial sleep aids which do help you have a deep uninterrupted sleep but have been put off it. Then for the last few months using the CBD tinctures have never helped my sleep patterns. Which intern had a positive impact on my wellbeing, dealing with stress, productivity at work and for this website and performance in fight training.
Even though you may hear pro hustle phrases like from one my favourite Hip Hop artist of all time Nas. Off his debut critically acclaimed album Illmatic on the classic track N.Y. State of Mind. he famously said “I never sleep, ’cause sleep is the cousin of death”. This type of thought resonates with so many go-getters but it’s proven from time and science how important a good night’s worth of sleep is.